Consequences following a data breach

Published: January 25, 2012 by lponemon

Our guest blogger this week is Dr. Larry Ponemon, Chairman and Founder of the Ponemon Institute.

Our latest study, Aftermath of a Data Breach Study, was conducted to better understand how a data breach affects organizations over the long term. In this study, IT professionals weigh in on how their organizations dealt with a data breach that had both serious financial and reputational consequences. While we asked respondents to focus on just one breach, 85 percent say that their organizations had more than one breach involving customer/consumer data in the past 24 months. It is interesting to note that in many cases it took a serious data breach to make privacy and data protection a greater priority and allocate additional resources to the IT security function.

While many respondents were unable to determine the root cause of the data breach, there is a consensus among respondents that insider negligence is making their organizations vulnerable to a data breach. As a result, organizations are investing in training and awareness and technologies that minimize the human factor risk.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”600px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ] Download the Ponemon Reputation Impact Study to learn what executives are saying about how a data breach can affect the reputation and image of an organization.[/dropshadowbox]

The findings also show the concern organizations have about losing the loyalty of their customers. Of the IT practitioners surveyed, few felt that prompt notification to victims was enough to reduce the negative consequences of the data breach. This suggests that compliance with data breach notifications laws in and of itself is not sufficient if an organization is concerned about customer loyalty and reputation. Other lessons learned from the data breach are to limit the amount of personal data collected, limit sharing with third parties and limit the amount of personal data stored. We invite you to read the full report here.